The headline for an article* I stumbled across read, “What’s in a name? Churches trade old names for new, younger members.” That piqued my interest, so I kept reading, “The sign that says Trinity Baptist Church in Maplewood was taken down last month and replaced with ‘LifePoint.’ Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church just converted to ‘The Grove,’ advertising ‘Same Church, New Name.’ First Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake is now ‘Community of Grace.’ If Easter is the season of rebirth, it’s a fertile period for Minnesota churches. Rebranding, long a strategy in the world of business, is taking off in congregations hoping to attract new members, update their images, and shed any negative perceptions of their denominations.” Hmmm, I thought to myself. What’s in a name? Well, a bride usually takes on the last name of the man she marries. If a bride’s new name develops a “negative perception” would it be alright to change it to some other man’s last name? After all, what’s in a name? But, that certainly wouldn’t be accepted! Now, isn’t the church called “the bride of Christ”? See Revelation 21:9 for the answer. If it is His bride, then it should certainly wear His name. Perhaps, there is something in a name.
The article went on to say that “religious leaders hoping to attract young adults and families recognize that many don’t have a clue about the difference between a Lutheran and a Baptist — but they do want community and a spiritual home.”Hmmm, again. Didn’t Jesus say, “Come unto ME?” [emphasis added] See Matthew 11:28,19:14 and John 5:40. Shouldn’t seekers be looking for Jesus in a church? Or, are they looking for the church to be a social club? This is why I believe that teaching people about the true, Biblical, and unique nature of the church is paramount and fundamental to understanding Christianity. A follower of Jesus needs to understand that His purpose for coming to earth was, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He also said, “I will build MY [emphasis added] church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, Jesus’ disciples, who are gathered together, are known as the “body of Christ, which is the church” (Col 1:18). In many verses throughout the New Testament, we see specific designations for the church, such as: “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16); or the “church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:1). Every designation for the church, found in the Bible, gives honor to Jesus or God, not some doctrine, a man’s name, or a catchy phrase. The name of the church was revealed in the first century when the Bible was written.
But, the article also stateed, “Religious leaders stress that abandoning a long-held name needs to be part of a larger growth strategy.” They also pointed to a recent survey by Grey Matter Research, that “found churches with denominational names were almost three times more likely to be viewed as old fashioned and rigid. Creating a fresh name, he said, is part of removing perceived barriers.” How very sad! Because, it was Jesus who said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18). This implies that no one has the right, or the authority, to change the name of the church to anything other that what is found in the Bible!
*Article Source – http://www.startribune.com/what-s-in-a-name-churches-trade-old-names-for-new-younger-members/419529003/?src=Apple+News